I came back to Auckland from Sam’s beach house in Leigh in the afternoon of Christmas Eve. I hitch hiked back with a surfer dude from Auckland who’s business it is to build custom race cars. This was my first hitch hiking experience, and it was good practice as Leigh is only about an hour north of Auckland. I was picked up after only standing on the road for about two minutes. I think only two or three other cars passed me before I was picked up.
That night was a Christmas of preparations followed by an evening of silliness. Joe’s roommate had brought home some new friends he had made at a local bar (they were bartenders) and the evening progressed into one which can be summarized by the following mental picture:
Four strangers stand around a kitchen sink.
Laughing at inappropriate jokes.
Drinking southern comfort straight up out of plastic cups.
Eating spaghetti straight from the strainer which still sits in the sink….
…..with their hands.
I stayed the night at Copeland Castle (the home of my besties Joe and Nils) for an easy departure the next morning….Christmas day. We departed at around 7 am in Reese’s van. The back stuffed full of groceries and alcohol…. at a ratio of about 1:4, and our camping pacs. Reese and Joe were in the front of the van… in the only two real seats. While Patrick, Nils, and I were stuffed into the back like human cargo.
We stopped for a rest in Coromandel town. Here we picked up Camille and James… two other couchsurfers and friends of the castle. (The name of the house Joe and Nils live in, and which I am an honorary member… mostly because I randomly show up and do their dishes). We also met up with Remco, and his brother and cousin. We stuffed Camille and James into Remcos car, and headed off to the beach. As you do on Christmas!
Having fun and lunch on the beach. The beginning of many bottles of wine…..
After this we went to visit Amanda. A couch surfer from the USA who very generously offered for us to come spend Christmas with her and her family who were over visiting from the States in their bach they had rented in Hahei. They didn’t even mind that 10 random, dirty, young people crashed their family Christmas. A prize goes to the Zeisset family for their epic amounts of Christmas spirit!
We were even invited to spend the night in their bach which we did after a bonfire on the nearby beach. The next morning we packed up and set out to cathedral cove. An epic hike with our packs and food later, and we were at the most stunningly beautiful location. We spent all boxing day there and wild camped on the beach that night. The next morning, after showering in a waterfall, our group split up. Some heading on more adventures, and some, like me… rocking up late to work with hand in their hair.